Prior to founding the good for you nail brand gitti, Jenni Baum-Minkus worked for several large multinational companies after studying in Cologne and Barcelona. In her last role she was responsible for Women in Leadership Programs for 13 european countries. In her free time she is a real sports addict and also a passionate yoga teacher after a training last spring in Bali. Yoga has been a great help to keep her calm with the crazy ups and downs from founding her own business hit. While the Cologne native may have moved to Berlin after falling in love with someone she met at Kater Holzig in April 2015, later on she ended up meeting her wonderful husband and got married last year.
What inspired you to create gitti?
In Dec 2017 I quit my job at Coke without knowing what to do next. A month later, I was having dinner with friends in Neukölln, when someone was asking me “what would you do, if you weren’t afraid” and the first thing that came into my mind, was glitter nail polish. (Yes, I had the same feeling: kind of embarrassing!) So I did not dare to say anything in that moment – I just said what a great question and that I needed to think about it. That night I went home at 4am in the morning and could not sleep, I said to my now husband that I needed to do some research.
I grabbed my Macbook, went to the kitchen, and started researching for the first time in my life about nail polish. I didn’t stop until next day lunch time. Since that moment I was hooked …. and what did I found out?
Every 2nd nail polish on the market contains toxic ingredients suspected to cause cancer, reproductive, and hormonal imbalances. In Germany alone, over 13 million women use nail polish at least once a week.
Over 70% of the women I asked did not know how bad traditional nail polishes are for them and our planet. I believe they deserve better. I want a future where people can enjoy wearing it worry-free. I want to radically change this industry!
What is the biggest roadblock you’ve faced professionally? How did you overcome it?
Honestly, I face roadblocks every day. Founding my own business is the craziest ride I have ever been on. My days are full of ups and downs. In one moment you feel like: “Yes, we made it! Now it’s working!” and 10 minutes later you think, “Omg… this is never ever gonna happen.”
I never cried so much like the last year, I never worked that much, I never saw my friends that little, I never had so little money (well, that’s not true, maybe at the beginning of my studies I had the same financial situation). But also I never felt so alive, never enjoyed my work and the little things during my work day so much. I never felt the support of my husband, closest friends and family that much and also from the people who support me passionately without getting any money for it.
A week ago, someone reached out to me on Instagram telling me that she loves the idea behind gitti and that she is traveling to NY for a photoshoot. She suggested taking gitti with her on the plane to make a video that now, with gitti you can paint your nails on the plane because it does not have the nasty smell. I loved the idea! So she came to my place (we had never met before), I gave her 2 gitti products and now she is in NY taking pictures for us. I still can’t believe that people who I don’t know support us in such a way.
Sometimes I feel like through gitti I realize again how kind and caring people can be for one another if they believe in the same thing.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Listen to yourself. And if you really want something: just do it!
Who inspires you the most?
My mom. Her energy level is striving and she is always positive. Even in the worst situation you can imagine, she stays positive and is solution oriented. She is always looking ahead, never back and enjoys the tiny things in life. She is a very strong woman but also the most loving, caring, and kindest person I know.
The nail polish is also named after her. Her name is Brigitte and the nickname is gitti. Last year in summer after I won the 1st prize at ADA, a accerator summer camp for female enterpreneurs, someone approached me and wanted to buy the idea. At one point I was very tempted to sell the idea because I have never done something like this before. I thought, maybe it’s never going to happen if I try to do it on my own. The night before the deal was closing my mum called me and told me I should stop wasting my energy talking to this guy but instead to focus on bringing my nail polish to the market. I was still missing a name for my nail color but then, it was clear: without her, gitti would never exist.
What is one thing you love about Berlin and what is something you would change?
That everything is possible in Berlin. You can be whoever you wanna be and do whatever you wanna do. In Berlin you find everything, every day. I love that this city is so full of creative minds who are striving to change our world. I feel Berlin is inclusive, brave and forward- thinking – I love this city and also learn from it every single day.
I would love to change that people are more caring with our environment. Last weekend when the sun was out I went for a run to the park. So many people were enjoying the weather, had some BBQ and just living in the moment – a beautiful scenery. The next day I came again and the whole park was full of rubbish: literally the whole ground was covered with leftovers and plastics. I don’t get this. So, please Berliners: get you shit together and clean up after yourselves 🙂
Where do you see Gitti progressing in the next year?
With gitti I’m on a mission to make nail polish better for you and our planet. The journey has just started. I’m (by far) not at the end. I want to continously improve our formulas to make the best possible products for you and our environment. And there are still 1,000 things that need to be done. But you need to start somewhere. And as everything is financed by myself along with family and friends I can not do major steps right at the beginning but one after the other.
With gitti I want re-unite two concepts that the traditional industry seems to have opposed in the last years: inside and outside beauty.
What does this mean? With gitti we strive for a dual power of beauty and mindfulness. We care about beauty: we want to make beauty sustainable by caring for ourselves and our planet.
We want to offer more sustainable beauty alternatives, because you and our planet deserve better. We know that we can not do it alone. Changing the industry and this world requires true heroines and heroes who consciously live beauty every day and lead the way.
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